Collaboration in reform is missing

Lifted from the comments of this article at Education Week titled "New Attitudes Shaping Labor-District Relations"

Collaboration with veteran teachers is exactly what is missing in the current reforms. It is refreshing to see that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also supporting this idea.

Our current debate about the failures in education has spent far to much time demonizing teachers and their contributions and they are the "frontline" of improvement.

It is not surprising that Michelle A. Rhee would find collaboration an "overrated" concept. Many of her recommended interventions shared around the country have divided school personnel and made it far more difficult to work together in unity for the same goal, student achievement.

Viewing teacher tenure as the central problem in our schools completely contradicts collaborative efforts. Tenure was written to protect the voice of teachers, not poor teachers.

Some leaders lack the skills and experience to adequately build a case in dismissing poor teachers, that is not the fault of tenure. 75 teachers fired by Michelle Rhee were returned to work with full back pay and not because of tenure. The courts determined the teachers were fired on a whim, for "arbitrary and capricious" reasons.

Ridding the schools of veteran teachers unable to express their voice if not in conformity while replacing them with the inexperience of "Teach for America" candidates is no solution to real problems in the urban classroom.

It is refreshing to see we are discussing the idea of working together to find amicable, reasonable solutions. This should go a long way in building teacher morale which is dissapating by the day, half are gone in the first few years.